When last I posted, Beaker, Strider, Snowplow and I were stuck at a motel in Many Glacier, MT, inside Glacier National Park. We were only about 40 miles from the finish but the snow was relentless.
We finally set out to clearing skies on the morning of September 11th. We had a 28.5 mile day ahead of us with difficult topography and deep snow. Snowplow lead the way and truly lived up to his trail name. I swear, nothing slows him down. Even with footsteps to follow, I struggled in thigh-deep drifts as we climbed higher and higher. Truth is, the snow made it difficult but not necessarily more dangerous and it added a layer of beauty that I could not have anticipated. The temps were perfect, the sun was shining, I was with friends and hiking on the most spectacular trail the CDT has to offer. We hiked above the last of the clouds. We hiked within feet of mountain goats. We stopped constantly to take pictures (none of which did justice to the stunning vistas all around us). Finally, soaking wet and out of strength, we made it to our campsite. It was well after sunset and I didn't have one step left in me.
Monument day! We got up early and hit the trail right away. I had planned to savor these last few miles but I was so excited, I couldn't slow down. We hiked up the east side of Waterton Lake to the border with Canada. There, in a small clearing, was a stone monument that marked the official end of this trail. We congratulated each other and took tons of pictures. The tour boat passed by and we actually tried to hitch a ride on it but they ignored us. That's okay, my spirits were so high that nothing could bring me down.
The trail continued north for a few more miles to tiny Waterton Township where we were obligated to call Canadian Immigrations and ask permission to be in their country. They were very welcoming.
Now, Beaker, Snowplow and I had to figure out how to get back into America and down to East Glacier. Strider was going up to Calgary and home to Montreal. There was a shuttle but they charged $75 per person and that was not in the budget. We set out to hitch hike, like we'd been doing to get in and out of resupply towns since this hike began. Beaker went ahead thinking few cars had room for three. Snowplow and I held up a sign that said 'East Glacier, Montana' and stood at a three-way intersection for hours with no luck. I excused myself for a few minutes to go dig a cat hole in the woods and, upon returning, found Snowplow gone and the sign on the side of the road. That Swiss bastard got a ride without me! Must be the accent.
It ended up taking me two whole days and four separate rides to get back to East Glacier. Not sure if it's because people don't like to pick up hitch hikers near international borders or because Canadians are skiddish about giving rides but I'm going to write a whole 'nother post about hitch hiking in Canada.
So now I'm back in East Glacier. I'm going to hang around for a while and attend the Second Annual Hiker Hoopla being held nearby on September 26th. Then I'll board a train for Chicago to visit my nephew, Brian, and ride home from there with my brother, Rob. That puts me back in Michigan on or about October 1st.
Even with those things to look forward to, I can feel the 'post hike blues' coming for me. I'll write about that in my next post but if you have any advice on how to deal with them,
please leave a comment.
|The snow made it extra special.|
|Snowplow blazed a trail for us|
|Beaker heading up to the Highline Trail|
|Louis Prevost aka Northern Strider. A genuine badass, he represented Canada in the '76 Olympics|
|It's one thing to see mountain goats through binoculars, it's another to hike with them.|
|Starting to get sunburn here. The snow reflected the sun right onto my face.|
|Beaker takes a break|
|Beaker and I holding up the CDT bandana|
|After Snowplow finished, he hopped on a bike and rode to Seattle.|
|Back at Brownies. I love this place.|
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